New survey shows Americans confused on heart health emergencies - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New survey shows Americans confused on heart health emergencies

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CLEVELAND (WKOW) -- Knowing how to spot a heart health emergency and knowing what to do can save someone's life, but Cleveland Clinic just released its survey that shows many Americans often confuse symptoms and aren't sure how to help.

The survey found 87% of people believe cardiac arrest is another term for heart attack, but they are very different.

Dr. Steve Nissen says "Cardiac arrest is when the heart is either beating wildly or not beating at all and there's no blood flow."

CPR can be a life-saver during cardiac arrest, but the survey shows only 1 in 6 people know the recommended technique.

Dr. Nissen says, "Many people didn't know that in the adult, really all you have to do is those chest compressions. Many people didn't know the rate at which to do them. The best rate is somewhere between 100 and 120 times per minute."

When it comes to a heart attack - where a coronary artery becomes blocked - people often confuse the symptoms of those of a stroke.

"Many people in our survey thought that having slurred speech or weakness is actually a symptom of a heart attack, when in fact, that's a symptom of a stroke," Dr. Nissen says. "People who have a heart attack, most people are going to have pain, usually in the center of the chest. It can go to the jaw or down the left, or down both arms. It's often associated with nausea or shortness of breath."

The survey also finds that most people having a heart attack know to call 911 first, but only about one third know to chew an aspirin as well.

Dr. Nissen says, "Many people don't know that it's a good idea to chew an aspirin, not a baby aspirin, but a full-sized 325 milligram of aspirin that in a few cases can actually stop a heart attack."

The survey also shows only 27% of people say there's an AED at their workplace.  Dr. Nissen says an AED can help shock the heart back into a normal rhythm and save someone's life during cardiac arrest, so it's important to know where it's located at work and in public places.

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